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How direct long distance dialing made the U.S. a smaller place, and how instantaneous direct communication between Americans without operator assistance became possible.
This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives
Producer: Audio Productions, Inc.
Sponsor: American Telephone and Telegraph Co. (AT&T), Bell System
Audio/Visual: Sd, B&W
Keywords: Communication: Telephone; Infrastructure: Information
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Subject: Polished documentary
A very well down documentary by the Bell telephone company of 1951. Informative and historically interesting.
Subject: direct distance dialing
i love this film very much because of the introduction of direct distance dial which i can diall long distance withourt operator
Subject: What happens when Jimmy gets the measles?
A pretty interesting overview of the advances that phone technology was making, especially when it came to long distance services. We see what is availible now, mainly just operators routing calls. But they were just starting to introduce operator-free technology that would route your call through wires, and use this new fangled thing called the 'area code' to help route it.
Markus Stamm -
Subject: Technologically interesting with minor historic inaccuracy
This film provides technologically very interesting insight into the history of long-distance telephone services.
However, the statement that the pepole of Englewood were the first in the world to use consumer direct distance dialling in the early 1950s is inaccurate. The first fully automatic network group spanning multiple areas was put to operation as early as 1923 in Weilheim (Upper Bavaria, Germany), the next automatic long-distance groups were installed in Switzerland (1925) and The Netherlands (1927). By the mid-1930s, direct distance dialling was available in more and more German cities.
Since this earlier technology was based on step-by-step dialling equipment (used in Germany until 1996) as opposed to the cross-bar switches used in the US, this movie offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes view of technology not widely used in Europe.
Christine Hennig -
Subject: The Nation at Your Fingertips
This early 1950s film introduced the country to the concept of direct long-distance dialing, by showing how residents of Englewood, New Jersey, the city where the first experimental direct dial program was installed, were able to call across the country without an operator. Like many Bell System films, it's very conscious of the telephone's history and how it changed with the timesÂÂwe get to see a Victorian couple shouting into an old wall-mounted phone, scurrying young male operators (the first ones were male), and an early female operator wearing a bizarre huge early headset. What's really interesting about this film, though, is the glimpse into the past we get from seeing a currently commonplace technology when it was first being introduced. Bell's automated switching system as described sounds very computer-like, and the description of how it searches for an open pathway to route the call through sounds eerily like how the internet works. An interesting historical relic.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ***. Also available on Our Secret Century, Vol. 6: The Uncharted Landscape.